Last week, retailers from all over Europe made their way to Birmingham’s NEC for the annual Spring Fair.
Spring Fair is the UK’s largest retail trade exhibition and where retailers go to get the low down on the latest trends while sourcing and re-stocking for the coming year. The Fair spans 14 different categories and launched a wapping 330,000 new products this year to an eager and ambitious audience. The biggest trend I saw? All things British!
Get ready to roll out the red carpet, the time is now for British brands and British products!!
Not only is Spring Fair a thriving space for inspiration on product design, merchandising, future trends etc, it also puts on some pretty fascinating seminars and key-note speakers. I sat in on an interesting seminar given by Dieter Kindl, CEO for the RAKUTEN Group.
RAKUTEN started in Japan in 1977 with just 5 employees and was established to help online sellers find their way in the e-commerce world. Today, the RAKUTEN GROUP boasts some 13,000 employees and spans across 25 markets internationally. RAKUTEN focusses on digital commodities, financial services and performance marketing. Or as they describe in their own words…
“For us, giving online sellers the space and freedom to merchandise brand awareness is key to growth.” Through training and consultancy programs, the firm helps build store identities online for both large and small businesses.
Head of Business Development, Dieter Kindl talked about today’s markets showing a myriad of different changes in the way we do business: how we connect services, how we do direct sales, cross boarder global trading, even the way the customer behaves in the market place has changed.
Today our customers consider purchases in far more detail than ever before, especially in terms of competition and where we spend our money. With price comparison, buying partnerships to provide traffic, payment methods (such click and collect and BIT COIN) and a host of other innovations, the retail lanscape over the next few years looks set to continue changing rapidly. Incidentally, BIT COIN was launched with RAKUTEN in quarter 3 of 2015 and represents now 2% of customers.
And then there’s M-commerce, or (mobile-commerce) which is growing at a furious pace. Kindl spoke of the Japanese market in which 70% of retail trade is now attributed to M-commerce. To ‘get in on the act’ often involves a huge investment for retailers and a commitment to understanding the technology and how to use it to analyse products, trends and growth potentials.
Ultimately, the future for business success will be found in an APP; and in case you’re wondering the biggest rate of growth audience is the over 60’s!
Spring Fair always brings with it an overload of inspiration, whether it’s discussions on future markets and customer psychology, or just design and store layouts. But what I love most about Spring Fair is that it’s a great time of year to get focussed and consider ways to take your business to the next level in the year ahead.